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These are tough times for charities, with many cancelling events and activities, closing shops and trying to communicate with companies and individuals who are distracted by the crisis. So what can they do to maintain income in turbulent times?
1. Review your strategy
Firstly, it is important to review your plans for this year and adjust targets and budgets accordingly. Be realistic. Cut costs where you can and try to maintain incomes streams that are not directly impacted.
2. Talk to your Donors
Try to communicate with your donors and funders about the impact on your charity and on your beneficiaries. They are all aware of the emergency and some will be happy to help if presented with a clear and compelling ask.
3. Identify Crisis Funds
Some sources of income, such as trusts and foundations, may be open to a request for extra help, especially if your charity can show that it or its beneficiaries have been especially affected by the crisis. Don’t over-egg it but try to use facts and figures to make your case. There will be many such appeals, so stick to the facts and try to quantify the need if you can. Often, your past warm donors offer your best chance of a crisis gift, so check your records and phone or email them now to see what is possible.
4. Look out for government support
Voluntary sector representatives are in discussion with the UK government about the provision of emergency support. Keep an eye out for what emerges and whether you are eligible to apply for help.
5. Consider an Emergency Appeal
If your charity or beneficiaries will be hard hit, consider making an emergency appeal. This could be used with all your income streams, such as individual donors, companies, trusts etc. Use a range of channels to communicate it and do it sooner rather than later. There will be many such appeals going out and donors may become immune to these after a time.
6. Keep one eye on the long term
In a crisis, it is easy to lose perspective. While the current situation may well go on for some months, the danger is that medium-term or long-term impact could be neglected. So don’t spend all your time, energy and capacity worrying about the short term. You still need to maintain other income streams, such as developing major gifts, applying to the National Lottery, raising legacies and so on.
7. Maintain Fundraising Capacity
One key risk to fundraising activity is if staff go off sick or whole teams are impacted by illness or are diverted to other activities. If this is the case, how will you maintain your fundraising? Can you bring in volunteers or will you need some interim support to keep things moving? The biggest risk is that activities grind to a halt, which will impact on your income down the line. Investing in additional capacity when you need to avoids a drop in income and helps ensure your sustainability.
8. Take Advice
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